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Budget proposal pumps millions into students' mental health

If your kids or their friends struggle with mental health, help could be on the way. During his State of the State address last Tuesday, Governor Tony Evers called 2023 “the year of mental health” as he proposed $500 million over the next two years to be used to address it. Of that $500 million, more than half of it ($270 million) would be used for mental health programs for students. That would be on top of the millions of dollars pledged by the state to help schools develop their mental health programs. That would be good news for initiatives like the United Way’s STRIDE Program. STRIDE was designed to remove the barriers for youth to get the mental health services they need. Seventy kids can meet with a mental health provider because of the STRIDE program, and they serve dozens more through their STRIDE Mighty Teens Empowerment Project and summer arts camp. United Way of Door County Community Impact Coordinator Cami Peggar says the state funding could significantly impact locally, considering STRIDE depends on donations and grants to fund their work.

Almost half of Door County’s youth experience significant problems due to anxiety or prolonged sadness, adding to the importance that STRIDE can help provide one-on-one mental health services at all five Door County school districts. Evers is expected to include the proposal along with many others when he unveils his budget next month. 

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